The NFL’s Washington Commanders could soon be for sale, after owners Dan and Tanya Snyder said they have hired Bank of America Securities to ”consider potential transactions.”
The team announced the surprising decision Wednesday to enlist the investment bank’s services. Asked if the Snyders were considering selling part or all of the team, a spokesperson said, ”We are exploring all options.”
That could mean a full sale amid mounting pressure and multiple ongoing investigations – Snyder has said many times he would never sell the team – or bringing on new investors more than 18 months after the Snyders bought out the previous minority owners.
BofA Securities has handled other sales of professional sports teams, including Steve Ballmer buying the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. A message sent to the firm seeking additional comment was not immediately returned.
The Commanders are worth an estimated $5.6 billion, according to Forbes – a sevenfold increase over the then-record $800 million Snyder paid for the team in 1999. That ranks sixth among the league’s 32 teams and would be more than the $4.65 billion Walmart heir Rob Walton paid for the Denver Broncos earlier this year.
It was not immediately clear how soon a possible sale could happen. Citing anonymous sources, Forbes reported Snyder has already received at least four calls from groups interested in buying the team.
League spokesperson Brian McCarthy said, ”Any potential transaction would have to be presented to the NFL Finance Committee for review and require an affirmative vote by three-quarters of the full membership.” That means 24 of 32 owners.
In the statement announcing the decision, the team said, ”The Snyders remain committed to the team, all of its employees and its countless fans to putting the best product on the field and continuing the work to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.”
Snyder’s ownership in Washington has come under increased criticism after an investigation found a toxic workplace culture and prompted a $10 million fine and additional reviews that are ongoing. The league office and Congress are currently investigating various organizational improprieties, including allegations of sexual harassment and potential financial improprieties.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said at the most recent league meeting there was ”merit” to removing Snyder, who has been accused of groping a team employee and of overseeing a workplace in which women were frequently harassed and demeaned.
It would take 24 of the other 31 owners to vote to remove Snyder, unless he voluntarily chose to sell the team that was renamed the Commanders earlier this year. The day of Irsay’s comments, a team spokesperson said the Snyders wouldn’t consider selling the franchise.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, lawyers representing more than 40 former team employees, called the move to explore selling ”a good development.”
”We will have to see how this unfolds, but this could obviously be a big step towards healing and closure for the many brave women and men who came forward,” they said in a statement.
The team has won just two playoff games during Snyder’s 23 years as owner and has among the worst records in the league over that span.
The Snyder family took full control of the team in March 2021 after buying out the 40.5% stake of Washington Football Inc. owned by Fred Smith, Dwight Schar and Bob Rothman.
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